In a unanimous vote, the House of Delegates passed what now known as the “Ardalla Miller Memorial Act”.
The bill is named after the late-mother of Boone County Delegate Rodney Miller. Last year she died 12-days after being denied the right-to-vote by emergency absentee ballot in the May Primary.
Had Mrs. Miller been treated at a hospital, assisted-living facility, or hospice, she would have been given a ballot. But because she chose medical treatment at home, she did not qualify for an emergency ballot.
“She wanted to help people. She wanted to have a voice. So having to tell her that she didn’t have the ability to do that, or wasn’t permitted, that was a blow to her. She’d worked in elections. Had voted in every election since she became old enough to vote,” said Del. Rodney Miller, (D) Boone.
Since he went public with his 80-year old mother’s ballot denial, Delegate Miller says he’s found many other West Virginia voters who’ve had similar problems. The unfairness of the system is stark. Delegate Larry Rowe’s mother is 93, but she is an assisted-care facility and got to vote there. He says what happened to Delegate Miller’s mom is just wrong.
“You know older citizens consider the right to vote, absolutely one of the most dearest things that they do. And my mom lives in elderly housing, and her housing has a precinct,” said Del. Larry Rowe, (D) Kanawha.
The Mountain State has one of the highest senior populations in the nation and nowadays more and more people are choosing late-stage medical care at home.
“Because we had her home, per her wish to try to take care of her, she was exempt from voting. So, hopefully, we’ve corrected that,” said Del. Miller.
The bill was named in Ardalla MIller’s honor.
While the bill to provide emergency absentee ballots to those being medically treated at home passed the House unanimously, it now goes on to the State Senate for consideration there.